Top prospect Wander Franco is part of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 60-man player pool, and the Detroit Tigers are including their most heralded young pitchers as baseball gears up for its abbreviated season.
Sunday was the deadline for teams to submit player pools, although additions can be made later. Many teams announced pools well below the 60-player limit.
Franco, a 19-year-old shortstop, is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. He spent last season in Single A, so it would be quite a jump for him to contribute in the majors in the immediate future, but putting him in the player pool makes him an option for the Rays — and could help his development in a year when the coronavirus shut down the minor leagues.
Pitcher Brendan McKay and infielder Vidal Brujan, two other top Tampa Bay prospects, also made the pool.
“They are some of our more advanced prospects,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “Certainly on the position player side that’s where things went and why Wander was a leading candidate for a spot.”
The Tigers are rebuilding around pitching prospects — including Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. He’s in their player pool, along with Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, Alex Faedo, and Franklin Perez.
The defending champion Washington Nationals included a whopping 36 pitchers in their pool, while the Baltimore Orioles announced only 44 players total at this time — not counting outfielder Trey Mancini, who was listed on the 60-day injured list and is likely to miss the season following colon cancer surgery in March.
The Nationals included infielder Ryan Zimmerman in their pool, although he said recently he was still deciding whether he would play.
The New York Yankees listed Miguel Andújar and Tyler Wade as infielders/outfielders, a sign they could see more outfield time if Aaron Judge (broken rib), Giancarlo Stanton (strained right calf), and Aaron Hicks (Tommy John surgery) aren’t sufficiently healed.
New York put righthander Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery) on the 45-day IL, agreed to minor league contracts with infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Max McDowell and released righthander Dan Otero, then re-signed him to a minor league contract.
Pirates’ Santana suspended for season
Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Edgar Santana will miss all of the abbreviated 2020 season after being suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
MLB announced Sunday that Santana tested positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance.
Santana, 28, is in the process of a comeback after missing all of the 2019 season following reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in September 2018. Santana was 3-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 88 career games, all with the Pirates. He worked five hitless innings of relief in spring training before the MLB season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pirates general manager Ben Cherington called Santana’s suspension “disappointing.”
Santana's salary of $581,500 was reduced to $215,370 due to the shortened season, and he will lose all of it. He received a $60,000 salary advance, however, and that money will be repaid to the team from the International Tax Fund.
Four minor leaguers fail drug tests
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez was one of four minor leaguers suspended for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Gutierrez, a 24-year-old righthander, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance. José Rosario, a member of the Minnesota Twins’ Dominican Summer League roster, was suspended 50 games following a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
Reza Aleaziz and Juan Idrogo, minor league pitchers for the Los Angeles Dodgers, also received suspensions. Aleaziz was suspended 50 games after testing positive for Amphetamine, and Idrogo received a 72-game ban after testing positive for GW501516, a performance-enhancing substance.
The suspensions were announced by the commissioner’s office.
Gutierrez went 6-11 with a 6.04 ERA in 27 starts at Triple A Louisville last season. The 24-year-old Aleaziz went 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 25 relief appearances last year, mostly for Ogden of the Pioneer League.
Idrogo is a member of the Dodgers’ Dominican Summer League roster.